End Time

End Time

by Freakwater
     
 

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Freakwater's previous effort, Springtime, no more celebrates the blossoming of anything (well, maybe dread) than the songs on End Time suggest closure. In its textures and languorous pace, End Time summons the burnished, comfortable feel of Indian summer, but the lyrics betray a worldview in which a red-hot holocaust is

Overview

Freakwater's previous effort, Springtime, no more celebrates the blossoming of anything (well, maybe dread) than the songs on End Time suggest closure. In its textures and languorous pace, End Time summons the burnished, comfortable feel of Indian summer, but the lyrics betray a worldview in which a red-hot holocaust is nigh, especially in the area of personal relationships. The harmonized singing of Catherine Ann Irwin and Janet Beveridge Bean (who also wrote all the songs on the album, a first for them) is as haunting and doom-laden as ever. Steve Goulding (ex-Mekons) on drums and Son Volt alum Eric Haywood on guitar and pedal steel give sensitive instrumental support. While there's plenty of gothic darkness to go around here, Bean and Irwin's skewed sense of humor surfaces too, especially on "Cheap Watch" (which declares absinthe a blues-chasing tonic) and "Queen Bee," an ode to the joys of promiscuity. Freakwater's world is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is the real one. It's hard to separate the two, hence the enduring appeal of this startling music, so well-crafted, so close to the bone, so beautiful.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
With Freakwater records, continuity is a far greater trait than change or innovation. Yet this album does represent a significant advancement for the group, without altering the sound in any way that would alienate fans of their previous discs. The arrangements are fuller than ever before, without sounding overproduced -- it's the first Freakwater record to have a full drum kit, and a three-piece string section appears on some tracks. This is also the first Freakwater album consisting entirely of compositions by the core duo of Catherine Irwin and Janet Bean. More noteworthy than any of these details, however, is the sheer level of vocal, musical, and lyrical accomplishment throughout, as well as the attention to diversity and nuance within their country/folk/alt-rock niche. At times this sounds like a pure country record (with lots of pedal steel) that's too country for Nashville; on "Good for Nothing" there's a Band-like organ that puts this in an early-'70s mood; "Sick, Sick, Sick" is just voice and what sounds like Dobro, getting close to country blues territory; "Dog Gone Wrong" has a honky tonk feel; and "All Life Long" is nearly Appalachian folk. It makes a reasonable contender for the best Freakwater release to date, as Bean and Irwin also maintain their high standard of moving vocal harmonies and clever, emotionally complex lyrics.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/07/1999
Label:
Thrill Jockey
UPC:
0036172876624
catalogNumber:
66
Rank:
201809

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